Serotonin and melatonin do not play a prominent role in the growth of prostate cancer cell lines

Urol Int. 2010;84(4):452-60. doi: 10.1159/000296296. Epub 2010 Mar 16.


Objectives: To investigate the effects of serotonin and melatonin (MLT) on the regulation of malignant growth and the activity of serotonin receptors (5HTR1a/-1b) in prostate cancer (PCa) cell lines.

Materials and methods: In four PCa cell lines (LNCaP, 22RV1, PC3, DU145) and two reference cell lines 5HTR1a and -1b, relative mRNA expression levels were assessed. Different serotonin and MLT receptor agonists and antagonists were used in stimulation and inhibition experiments.

Results: mRNA expression of 5HTR1b was higher than that of 5HTR1a in all PCa cell lines. Serotonin showed a significant growth stimulatory effect in all PCa lines. The 5HTR1a and -1b agonists/antagonists did not significantly affect viability. MLT inhibited viability only in PC3 cells. Similarly, the 5HTR1a antagonist induced apoptotic changes in PC3 cells only at 10(-4)M, while the 5HTR1b antagonist induced necrosis at 10(-4)M in all cell lines. Cell cycle alterations were seen in PC3 and DU145 cells under the influence of the 5HTR1a antagonist.

Conclusions: Serotonin receptor antagonists and agonists as well as MLT influence viability and apoptosis of PCa cell lines at supraphysiologic concentrations. In contrast to other reports, our results do not support a regulatory role of serotonin or MLT receptor activation or inhibition in PCa growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation* / drug effects
  • Cell Survival
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A / genetics
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A / metabolism
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1B / genetics
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1B / metabolism
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists / pharmacology


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1B
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A
  • Serotonin
  • Melatonin